Former Principal Awarded with $275,000 in Reverse Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against District
The former Principal of Richmond Heights high school, Timothy Pingle has received $275,000 as part of his settlement with the school district for the racial discrimination lawsuit he filed in 2012.
Plaintiff was employed as the secondary school principal under a two-year administrator contract in August 2011. After the suspension of the superintendent of the school district in November 2011, the Board was required to appoint an interim superintendent and Pingle believed himself to be qualified for the job. Prior to the Board’s selection of an interim superintendent, Pingle sent emails to two Board members regarding the suspension of the superintendent and the Board’s imminent selection of an interim superintendent. However, the Board selected Moore to be the interim superintendent. Moore, an African American was also the elementary school principal during that time. On December 13, 2011, upon Moore’s recommendation, the Board terminated plaintiff’s contract under Ohio Rev. Code § 3319.16, and suspended him without a pay for the stated reason that his emails were racist and violated the board’s policy. Plaintiff first appealed to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas on grounds of discrimination and retaliation under the federal and state law, and subsequently with the federal district. The Court granted plaintiff's motion and thereafter, plaintiff filed an amended complaint with the leave of the Court. Pingle v. Richmond Heights Local Sch. Dist. Bd. of Education, et al., Case No. 1:12-cv-2892, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146218.
Pingle claimed having sent the emails under a heavy influence from the former school board president, as per whom the board had to appoint Moore, a black man, to avoid allegations of racism. He also alleged that his emails were protected under federal and state laws that prohibit retaliation against discrimination whistle-blowers.
The parties finally settled the lawsuit in October, after U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi decided it had enough merit for a trial. Id.
A settlement was entered into between the parties on November 30, 2015, according to which the school board switched Pingle's termination to a resignation, and the insurance company is to settle the matter for $275,000.
 See the “Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of Claims” at: http://www.cleveland.com/hillcrest/index.ssf/2016/01/former_richmond_heights_princi.html